Slavery and Freedom in the United States Virgin Islands

Since 2015, the Slave Wrecks Project (SWP) has developed a network of collaborators in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, devoted to exploring the history and legacies of slavery and freedom there. SWP partners advance terrestrial and maritime archaeological investigations, dive training, and underwater-heritage monitoring and analysis. SWP also conducts exhibition development, interpretation, and community outreach in St. Croix, telling fuller stories about our shared history. In St. Croix, SWP has hosted collaborative projects with global partners from Senegal, Mozambique, and South Africa, as well as field schools for students from HBCUs and local universities.

Global partners of SWP – the National Museum of African American History and Culture, National Park Service Southeast Archaeological Center and Submerged Resources Center, Diving With a Purpose, and The George Washington University – are joined in the U.S. Virgin Islands by a host of local and regional partners and collaborators. They include the Christiansted National Historic Site, the Society of Black Archaeologists, University of the Virgin Islands, Jr Scientists in the Sea, and CHANT (Crucian Heritage and Nature Tourism). Throughout all of these efforts, SWP works to support ongoing efforts toward preserving, researching, and interpreting the important cultural heritage of the Caribbean related to histories and sites of slavery and freedom.

To learn more about ongoing SWP work in St. Croix, and National Park Service–Christiansted National Historic Site, click here.

A group of people conducting an archaeological excavation in St. Croix.
SWP partners from U.S., Senegal and Mozambique at work at Ft. Christiaanvern archaeological site. Photo by Meredith Hardy NPS
A group of people conducting an archaeological excavation in St. Croix.
Dr. Ibrahima Thiaw, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Senegal at Ft. Christiaanvern site. Photo by Meredith Hardy, NPS
A scuba diver examines an anchor underwater.
Dr. David Morgan, NPS Southeast Archaeological Center, dives on a wreck off the coast of St. Croix. Photo by Susanna Pershern
A group of students at work in an archaeology lab.
NPS and SWP interns caring for artifacts from terrestrial archaeological sites in St. Croix. Photo by Meredith Hardy, NPS
A group of people pose for a photo.
Members of the global SWP partnership in St. Croix for training and fieldwork in 2017. Photo by Meredith Hardy, NPS
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